Things to do in
Ribeiro Frio

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Our most recommended things to do in Ribeiro Frio

From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

1. From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

Begin this full-day 4x4 tour with a pick-up at your hotel in Funchal and travel deep into the southeast of Madeira. You’ll come to Machico town and the line that divides the north and south of the island. Take in breathtaking views of the Eagles Rock from Portela. Drive down, stopping in Porto da Cruz, which is the next must-see point. Visit a sugar cane factory, continue to the Faial coastline and then up to see the typical houses of Santana. These small straw-thatched triangular houses are emblematic of Madeira and intricate in their construction. Head down into the valley and through the forest to Riveiro Frio at an elevation of 1818 meters, the third-highest peak on the Island.

From Funchal: Santana and Pico do Areeiro East Island Tour

2. From Funchal: Santana and Pico do Areeiro East Island Tour

Explore the wonders of Madeira on this guided minibus trip from Funchal to the east side of the island. Visit Camacha, Pico do Areeiro, Ribeiro Frio, Faial, Machico, and more. Enjoy a long stop in the village of Santana to see local life and have time for lunch. Enjoy a great start to the tour by visiting Camacha, one of the most rural and rustic villages in Madeira where folklore is still hugely in practice. Camacha makes Madeira world-renowned for its industry of wicker and cane. The next stop is Pico do Areeiro, the third highest peak on the island with an altitude of 1818 m, where you can take in unbeatable 360-degree island views. Often, rocky formations can be seen to be piercing through the clouds creating one-of-a-kind visuals and photo opportunities. Next, move on to Ribeiro Frio (meaning cold river). Ribeiro Frio is a small village situated in the heart of the Laurissilva forest. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest in the world and is believed to be 90% primary forest. In this classified UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, you can enjoy a variety of plants and species in their natural habitat. Get the chance to also observe a trout farm made up (as naturally as possible) of stone enclosures and fresh flowing levada water, set against a backdrop of pure nature. The tour continues to Faial, where you can view the imposing rock of Penha de Águia, which separates Faial from Porto da Cruz. With a lengthy stop at the village of Santana next, you will have ample time for lunch and to see Madeira’s world-famous typical thatched roved triangular houses, painted in happy primary colors. Pass by Portela en route to Ponta São Lourenço, which is situated in the most eastern part of the island. Take in the unique landscape characterized by the fantastic combination of rocks, sea, and nature. Your final stop is the larger city of Machico, the first area of the Island that the Portuguese navigators came across. Later, return round-trip to your pickup location in Funchal. 

East Tour Madeira 4x4 Jipe Tour Santana Typical Houses

3. East Tour Madeira 4x4 Jipe Tour Santana Typical Houses

Discover more of Madeira with a 4x4 excursion to the eastern part of the island. Travel from Funchal to see sights like Pico do Areeiro peak and Ponta de São Lourenço natural reserve. See how rum is made with a visit to a sugar cane factory. Be picked up from your hotel in Funchal and drive to the Pico do Areeiro to see the views from the third highest peak on the island. Continue to the charming Ribeiro Frio village. Take a leisurely walk to Balcões viewpoint in the lush heart of the Laurissilva forest. Jump back in the jeep and drive through São Roque do Faial parish, Cruzinhas viewpoint, and the mountain village of Lombo Galego. Take the off-road trail Cova da Roda. Pass through Pico das Pedras right in the middle of the Ponta de São Lourenço reserve. Head towards Santana, where you can go get lunch. Visit the Porto da Cruz sugarcane rum factory. Finish with panoramic views of the Atlantic at the reserve.

From Funchal: Madeira Island Private Jeep 4x4 Tour

4. From Funchal: Madeira Island Private Jeep 4x4 Tour

Discover the best of Madeira Island with this Jeep safari tour. Customize the route to see the Sea, Mountains, Cliffs, and Laurissilva Forest (North-East part of the island). Leave Funchal in the direction of the village da Camacha where you can visit the basketwork factory. Continue through Vale Paraíso towards Poiso with an altitude of 1412m and climb through the mountains to Pico do Arieiro at a height of 1818m for mesmerizing panoramic views. Then, descend to Ribeiro Frio in the Laurissilva Forest and visit the trout nursery. Continue your adventure along old paths passing Cedro Gordo and Cruzinhas until you reach the Village de Santana to explore the typical straw houses (Colmo). Descend to the village of Faial for amazing views down to the sea and then continue towards Ponta de São Lourenço in the east of Madeira. Finish off with a transfer back to Funchal.

Madeira: Santo da Serra to Ribeiro Frio Private Walk

5. Madeira: Santo da Serra to Ribeiro Frio Private Walk

Journey from the center of Santo da Serra to Ribeiro Frio, two of the main points of interest on Madeira Island, visited not only by tourists but also by residents. Walk through a forest road passing by the Trout Fishing Park, where you can relax for a while, having a tea or simply enjoying the surroundings. Immerse yourself in the amazing nature at the Levada, enjoying every step while you appreciate the wide variety of endemic flora and fauna of Madeira Laurisilva. Discover open areas that offer magnificent views of the valley and peaks of the island. Continue walking along the levada, enjoying the energy of all this pure nature surround you.

Madeira: Jeep 4x4 Old Forest Safari Tour with Pico Arieiro

6. Madeira: Jeep 4x4 Old Forest Safari Tour with Pico Arieiro

Explore Madeira Island in a unique and active way on this Land Rover 4x4 trip. Prepare to see breathtaking views, visit hidden places that you can’t reach by yourself, and collect memories you’ll never forget. Visit the Laurissilva Forest and Pico do Arieiro. Start your trip by departing from Funchal in the direction of Camacha Village, where you can visit the basketwork factory. Then, continue through Vale Paraíso towards Poiso with an altitude of 1412 meters. Climb through the mountains to Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third-highest peak at a height of 1,818 meters. This is one of the most beautiful places in Madeira, with unbeatable views of the island. Stay here for a while and walk around. Later, descend to Ribeiro Frio and reach the Laurissilva Forest to visit the trout nursery. Continue the adventure along old paths passing Cedro Gordo and Cruzinhas until you reach the Village de Santana where you’ll get to visit the typical straw houses (colmo). After this stop, descend to the village of Faial with views down to the sea, then continue towards Ponta de São Lourenço in the east of Madeira. This part of the Island is much drier and arid, but with a unique beauty due to its cliffs and colors. End your trip with drop-off back in Funchal.

Madeira: Private 1.5-Kilometer Levada dos Balcões Hike

7. Madeira: Private 1.5-Kilometer Levada dos Balcões Hike

Once having been collected from your Madeira accommodation, drive through the mountains before arriving to Ribeiro Frio. Following a short but grandeur walk through the beautiful Laurisilva Forest, arrive to the fabulous Balcões’ belvedere. From this belvedere it’s possible to contemplate the many peaks of Madeira Island, from which Pico Ruivo and Pico do Areeiro stand the highest. Pico do Gato, Pico das Torres, and the well-known Penhad’Águia also constitute part of this breathtaking scenery. This area is also ideal for bird watching, due to the fact that it is home to a huge variety of different species. These birgs include the firecrest, the chaffinch, grey wagtails, blackbirds, robins, buzzards, and the very rare Madeira's long-toed pigeon.

From Funchal: Advanced Canyoning Experience in Madeira

8. From Funchal: Advanced Canyoning Experience in Madeira

Join in on an advanced-level canyoning adventure with this tour from Funchal. Use high-quality equipment to traverse Madeira's canyons and streams. Keep your up your energy with snack stops along the way.  Be picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in Funchal. Sit back and relax as you head to a location that is hand-picked for the day's conditions at Seixal, Calheta, Santana or Ribeiro Frio.  Start abseiling down rock faces and crossing water lines. Get wet as you swim and slide through the picturesque canyon. Enjoy jumping from waterfalls, where it is possible to do so. Take a break with some water and snacks.  Have photos and videos that you can take home to share. Eat some more snacks before returning to your accommodation in Funchal.

Madeira: Private Levada Ribeiro Frio - Portela Walk

9. Madeira: Private Levada Ribeiro Frio - Portela Walk

This tour ranges in altitude from 641-886 meters. You'll begin at Ribeiro Frio and end at Portela, covering a distance of 11 kilometers. This trail is a real stunner even for the seasoned traveler, without a doubt one of the most beautiful in Madeira. Enjoy the natural heritage of the island and its endemic species of flora and fauna. The magnificent vegetation will envelop and recharge you in its oh-so-peaceful environs. Watch sunbeams peak cheekily between the laurels and other plants of the area, birds cooing gently all the while. On this softly quiet walk, you will progress parallel to the lovely levada that flows along the trail.

Other Sightseeing Options in Ribeiro Frio

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What people are saying about Ribeiro Frio

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 182 reviews

We booked the activity for January and were a little bit scared that it is going to he cold and gloomy, however it was amazing. Eventhough there was swimming involved (which my husband could not, suppose that was the only downside for him). Overall we had amazing time and I enjoyed every single bit of it, the thrill, the hike and the nature! Thank you!

Had a great experience. We had 2 seats at the back of the car. Maybe not very comfortable, but only us 2 could stand while we were driving of road. The rest of the passengers had to seat. Breathtaking views. Day gone very quickly.

Fantastic in all ways, really recommend this trip! One full day of adventure, & we were lucky to experience all kind of weather & different climate zone.

Very pleasant drive with the car and a nice travel companion who took care of everything.

We have seen much more than we expected. Highly recommend!